The Architect and The Construction Worker.

Disney Hall in Los Angeles opened in 2003. The building was designed by Frank Gehry. Most people have heard of Frank Gehry and are familiar with his work.

When I watched a video of the construction of Disney Hall, I wanted to know the name of the construction companies that worked on the theater. I couldn’t find the names. I found it interesting that even on web pages that listed construction, they never recorded the names of the people who actually did the building.

I wanted to know the names of the people who poured to concrete, drove the trucks, welded the beams, pulled the wires for the electricity, and painted the walls. We don’t have their names, but without their labor, Frank Gehry’s drawings would have remained sketches in a notebook.

Likewise, without Frank Gehry’s sketches, the construction workers would have most likely worked on another project. This brings us to our own work, our goals for the New Year. In late December, early January, we are the architects.

We get to be Frank Gehry, it can be glamorous, and fun to talk about our goals, to dream, to plan, to make pronouncements to our close friends in our mastermind group. Yet now is when I hear people joke about how they gave up on their goals and resolutions. Derek Silvers does an interesting TED talk where he suggests not talking about your goals because you can trick your brain into thinking you have accomplished them.

Don’t give up on your goals. You invested time and effort working on them. Here is an alternative- To accomplish our year-long goals, we need to take on the role of the construction worker. Adopt a persona that will add some grit to your day. The construction worker gets up at 4:00am, packs a lunch in a pail or brown paper bag, stops at seven eleven gets some coffee, a few Red Bulls and works a twelve-hour shift. The construction worker endures intense heat or bitter cold. The construction worker is paid to finish the job. If the construction worker fails, they lose their job, and worse people can lose their lives if safety isn’t considered.

This is who we can be to accomplish our goals. I reflect back on my upbringing to access the construction worker persona. I was born in the Midwest, my Father, and most of my friend’s fathers were blue-collar workers, I started working at 16 in a steel mill after school. Hard work is just something we did.

We didn’t ask what our why was, we didn’t read 12 step books or listen to the gurus, we didn’t have coaches, we just went to work.

I am not down on books, gurus, or coaches, they have a place. Here is my tip, if you are struggling with your goals or thinking about quitting. Don’t stop, pause, and consider the construction worker, the maid, the nurse, the custodian. Show up every day and put in the labor. It can be one minute every day or sixty. Labor used towards your goals are the forward movement you need. So this week, who do you need to be to accomplish what you are striving for?

As a soloprenur, I have to be the architect and the construction worker. This year I am starting my third year of podcasting and weekly blogging. You can listen to the first episode of my podcast here. 

Every construction worker needs some coffee.


One thought on “The Architect and The Construction Worker.

  1. Hey Steve,

    You give great advice and perspective here. I’m wondering if we lose touch with the construction worker inside of us because we never committed in the first place. Many goals interest us because we want to feel smarter, look better, or whatever, but the commitment to attain those is not discussed.

    The construction worker is committed. The building of the project is what the construction worker shows up for because that is his bread and butter. Such a good metaphor!

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